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EDITORIAL: State Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford and the separation of powers.

Aaron Ford’s resume lists a legal degree from Ohio State. But the majority leader of the Nevada Senate, a Democrat, apparently slept through his constitutional law classes.

Mr. Ford last week issued a disingenuous news release condemning a newly filed lawsuit contending that the Nevada Constitution’s separation of powers clause prohibits state workers from also serving in the Legislature. The legal action — courtesy of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a free-market think tank in Las Vegas — targets first-term state Sen. Heidi Gansert, a Reno Republican who also works for UNR.

Mr. Ford called the suit “baseless” and “meritless” while throwing in a “misguided” for good measure. It’s the standard “nothing to see here, move along” pose common for those hoping to deflect attention from potentially troubling issues. But even a grade-schooler stumbling upon Article 1, Section 3 of the state constitution — “no person charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging” to either the state executive, legislative or judicial branches “shall exercise any functions appertaining to either of the others” — could understand its plain language.

In addition, Mr. Ford crows that a similar NPRI lawsuit in 2011 against state Sen. Mo Denis, a Las Vegas Democrat who also worked for the Public Utilities Commission, was “unsuccessful.” He conveniently fails to mention that Mr. Denis, rather than risk having the matter adjudicated, quickly quit his job after the lawsuit was filed, making the action moot and leaving the courts to rule another day.

That day has perhaps come. Mr. Ford says he is “confident” the Nevada judiciary “will deal with this issue properly and in short order.” He might be careful what he wishes for.

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